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Thread: Blind Man Says Utah Gun Permit Does Not Make Him Dangerous

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    State Pioneer ConditionThree's Avatar
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    http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=1223976



    Blind Man Says Utah Gun Permit Does Not Make Him Dangerous
    May 15th, 2007 @ 2:38pm

    FARGO, N.D. (AP) -- A blind man who has concealed weapons permits from North Dakota and Utah says he's not a danger to society, even though he can't see the gun he's shooting.

    Carey McWilliams, 33, says he has followed all rules, and he wants Minnesota to join other states that have granted him a concealed weapons permit. He says he was rejected by a Minnesota county sheriff and a judge in that state.

    "I'm trying to prove a point that people without sight still can carry (a gun) because brains are more important than eyesight in securing public safety," McWilliams said. "The shooter at Virginia Tech had really good eyesight and he killed 32 people."

    Sheriff Bill Bergquist of Clay County, Minn., said he felt bad about denying a permit for McWilliams.

    "He's a super nice guy," Bergquist said. "But the application states that a person should be able to show proficiency on the firing range and a proficiency of the weapons. That's the issue.

    "Sometimes I have to ask myself, what is right in this case? I felt when I denied it, he could have his day in court," the sheriff said.

    McWilliams said he completed the required class and shooting exercise by Paul Horvick, a National Rifle Association instructor. Horvick said he believes gun rights are private and would not comment on anyone he has taught or tested. Documents on Minnesota weapons hearings are sealed.

    McWilliams said he uses special low-range, hollow-point bullets that are effective only in tight quarters.

    "If I use a gun it will be at point-blank range, period," he said. "A sighted shooter is probably more dangerous because they can see something scary and pull their gun in haste."

    Under Minnesota law, an applicant must be issued a license for a gun or a concealed weapon if he or she completes the class and shooting exercise and passes a background check -- unless "there exists a substantial likelihood that the applicant is a danger to self or the public if authorized to carry a pistol under permit."

    McWilliams believes Minnesota officials have violated his constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

    "It's nobody business that I'm blind," he said.

    McWilliams lives in a Fargo trailer park with his wife, Victoria. A neighbor, Jon Storley, accompanied McWilliams during his appeal to the Minnesota District Court.

    "He's not a nut, he's not a weirdo, he's not a freak," said Storley, a cab driver and rock musician. "I'm not a lawyer, but in this case I believe the judge was legislating from the bench."

    Storley also said he doesn't blame Bergquist and Kirk for their decisions, calling the case "a kettle of worms."

    The permit obtained from Utah is recognized in 30 other states, including Minnesota. McWilliams said he had to complete a "firearms familiarity course" before receiving the Utah license.

    "Basically they just passed around a couple of guns," McWilliams said.

    McWilliams, who got his North Dakota permit in 2001, testified during the 2005 North Dakota legislative session against a proposal to drop the written part of the concealed weapons test. He told lawmakers it would allow people who are ignorant about firearm regulations to get permits. The test was eliminated.

    The Legislature also decided to keep individual information about weapons permits confidential, said Liz Brocker, spokeswoman for the attorney general's office.

    "All I can tell you is the total number of permits that have been issued" -- 8,030, she said.

    McWilliams lost his eyesight when he was 10 years old, after a series of headaches and gradual deterioration. It was a mystery to doctors.

    He said he was a victim of domestic violence growing up and was stalked by gang members.

    "I've had situations where I would have felt threatened if I hadn't been carrying," he said.

    McWilliams has written two books, including an autobiography published earlier this year that talks about his experiences in sky diving, scuba diving and deep sea fishing. He was in two segments of Michael Moore's antigun movie, "Bowling for Columbine," including a scene showing him cradling an AK-47 assault rifle.

    Much of his autobiography is about his weapons training and testing.

    "My permits together allow me, with reciprocity, to carry my gun in 30 states, one of which could be yours," he writes. "But never fear, with my extensive experience in firearms, I have take all reasonable measures to ensure the safety of others."
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    Hmmm... certainly not the poster boy for CCW I would have voted for.
    -Unrequited

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    State Researcher HankT's Avatar
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    Sneaky tough case.

    I wonder how much vision McWilliams actually has left?

    I also wonder what those "special low-range, hollow-point bullets that ...effective only in tight quarters" are.


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    That sounds like the low-power ammo the local police here use in apartments so that they don't shoot through drywall and kill people in adjacent units. The rounds have some (usually blue) plastic tip and fragment readily. Same principle as the frangible rounds the military uses for blowing door locks apart with shotguns.

    -ljp

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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator longwatch's Avatar
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    As long as he recognizes his limitations, and he certainly seems too, I have no problem with this gentleman carrying. Target identification should be no problem if a criminal has his hands on the man.


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    Weapon retention!?!



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    longwatch wrote:
    As long as he recognizes his limitations, and he certainly seems too, I have no problem with this gentleman carrying. Target identification should be no problem if a criminal has his hands on the man.

    Ahh, that's it. Limitation. Thanks, longwatch. I was trying to think of what the salient issue here is.The question that comes up is:

    "At what point is a citizen too limited, physically or mentally, to be a responsible carrier/owner of a gun?"


    Usually, we deal with the menatal limitations to prohibit certain people from owning or carrying. Here we have a physical limitation. So that's interesting.

    Right now, I'm thinking it's very bad judgment for this guy to be toting a gun. Egregiously bad.But the problematic thing is thatthe bad judgment will never be measurable until he would use the gun. So, he gets to gethis permits and his guns in at least some states.

    He must have a little bit of vision left.Otherwise it would be insane to let him have a permit and a gun.

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    State Pioneer ConditionThree's Avatar
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    I dont recall there being limitations on blind people keeping and bearing arms in the 2nd A.

    If we were talking about a blind man carrying a knife, there wouldnt be any thought of restricting his access. The only difference between a knife and a gun in these circumstances then, is effective reach.

    So how small of a defensive reach should a blind person have versus a sighted person? Would you also limit the defensive reach of a deaf person? A parapalegic? An amputee?

    We are talking about a man that has not demonstrated negligent behavior, presumably has no criminal record, and is not a danger to himself or his community when he is unarmed. Does this automatically change when he holsters up his pistol?

    No.Denyinghis concealled carry is an infringement of his rights, blind or not.
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    CL SUBJ IN COMPLIANCE WITH LAW


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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator longwatch's Avatar
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    Well lets examine this. Why is it bad judgement for him to carry? Because he might miss a shot? Nobody can guarantee that they will always hit. Weapon retention problems? They apply to everyone who carries. Target misidentification? If the blind man is being attacked in close quarters I think he should be very aware of who is threatening him. It seems to me the only difference between this mans defensive situatuation and non handicapped gun carriers is the degree to which this mans blindness exacerbates the technical problems and liabilities of a gunfight. I think he recognizes these and has mapped out a rational plan of self defense.

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    ConditionThree wrote:
    I dont recall there being limitations on blind people keeping and bearing arms in the 2nd A.

    If we were talking about a blind man carrying a knife, there wouldnt be any thought of restricting his access. The only difference between a knife and a gun in these circumstances then, is effective reach.

    So how small of a defensive reach should a blind person have versus a sighted person? Would you also limit the defensive reach of a deaf person? A parapalegic? An amputee?

    We are talking about a man that has not demonstrated negligent behavior, presumably has no criminal record, and is not a danger to himself or his community when he is unarmed. Does this automatically change when he holsters up his pistol?

    No.Denyinghis concealled carry is an infringement of his rights, blind or not.
    Well, ofcourse there are no restrictions in 2A about blind people. That's a blinding glimpse of the obvious. The scope of that legal source was and is substantially beyond the practical and pragmatic details that play out in the millions of permutations and combinations that there are.

    That's why this case is so intereresting. At what point does the limitation level kick in that would make it imprudent or illegal for a citizen to be allowed to carry a gun. In the instant case, the imprudent level has clearly been reached. However, the illegal stage has not (mostly). As regarding the negligent behavior dodge, that is interesting too, as I mentioned before. McWilliams is probably significantly more prone to committing some negligent act with a gun in the future--but we really can't measure very well how significantly different that proneness is--untilhe does it, if he does it.

    So it's a dilemma.

    A dilemma that some would choose to resolve with the usual "more gunsgood, less guns bad" principle.

    I've never been a big advocate of MGGLGB. It's OK for broad problems but pretty much sucks in cases like this.


    longwatch wrote:
    Well lets examine this. Why is it bad judgement for him to carry? Because he might miss a shot? Nobody can guarantee that they will always hit. Weapon retention problems? They apply to everyone who carries. Target misidentification? If the blind man is being attacked in close quarters I think he should be very aware of who is threatening him. It seems to me the only difference between this mans defensive situatuation and non handicapped gun carriers is the degree to which this mans blindness exacerbates the technical problems and liabilities of a gunfight. I think he recognizes these and has mapped out a rational plan of self defense.

    Well, we have to qualify the analysis by realizing that the crucial variable is how much vision the guy actually has. The story doesn't give that.Does "blind" mean zero vision--no forms, no differentiation, no light? Or does it mean, some differentiation, can make out forms and limbs at 5 feet? Or something else?

    I'll conjecture that McWilliams has some vision, else it would be madness for him to tote a gun around. So he has a visual range of a few inches, maybe a foot (I don't really know). If that's the case he would logically miss almost anything he shoots at unless he is aided by and does his aiming by sound. The test for legality in carrying a gun is not being able to hit anything. Any bubba can just get a license, a gun and some bullets and be on his way. Ifever the SHTF, he can just spray andpray.But the test for prudence (and responsibility) is some minimum level of proficiency of gun handling. If McWilliams is really very blind, he is being quite irresponsible. He can't hit **** unless it is holding on to him. So, for example, even a cop in uniform or a long lost relativegrabbing him for some reason could end up in dead LEO or ventilated cousin without necessity.


    Your use of the "nobody's perfect at shooting" notion does not seem to apply here. You are comparing a general truth to a specific case. That logic would lead to some pretty absurd results. The "nobody's perfect at shooting" argument is a straw man.

    I dunno. This case is interesting only because it falls in as a dilemma. It's responsibility (based directly on how much competence he actually has) vs. a constitutional right. If he has only inches of sight, he is being irresponsible. But that's, of course, not unconstitutional. So, there is no constitutional solution. Only, perhaps, a regulatory solution. And that can be formal regulation or societal/cultural regulation.

    You know, at some point, we all have to take dad's car keys andguns away from him. Even though he has a "legal" right to them and might bitch about it. We do it because it is the prudent and responsible thing to do and we love dad a bunch. We even consider society's needsat that point.

    I like McWilliams. After all, he's a gun guy. But I think the odds are heavy against him performing acceptably in a shoot situation. However, he still has that 2A right....

    Maybe, since he is disabled, we could introducesome personal security program for the guy. Say, a sighted and armed attendant. A bodyguard, I guess. We do lots of other special rules and servicesfor disabled people. I could justify approving my tax dollars for a deal like that. Would make sense actually--who defends all those other blind people who are not as resourceful as McWilliams? Are they not worthy of the protection afforded by firearms too?

    I just don't likethe idea of a blind man with a gun. OTOH, I don't like the idea of depriving a manof a constitutional right. A dilemma.

    One thing I know for sure. The MGGLGB principle won't work here. It's a special case. It requires complex analysis, not simplism.


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    any zatoichi fans in here? :P

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    HankT wrote:
    One thing I know for sure. The MGGLGB principle won't work here. It's a special case. It requires complex analysis, not simplism.

    WRONG



    Rights belong to the individual. The group is governed by laws only.

    The right of the individual, to self defence, is paramount.

    You don't grand it, the Constitution doesn't grant it, It is inalienable.

    He has the right to self defence period.

    It is not complicated it is very simple.



    As a responsible man he has taken steps to defend him self as best he can.

    With him there is no 7 and 7 rule. If some one grabs him he knows exactly where they are and he can take steps to neutralize the threat.

    It doesn't matter if he has any sight at all, heis aware of his limitations. This awareness he will use to self govern the use of his rights.

    I rode the bus for many years with a man who went skiing several times a week, and yet he was totally blind.

    I road the bus with a man who used power tools to build furniture and was totally blind.

    We all have limitations, but rights are separate from our limitations.

    We each must use the understanding of our limitations as we exercise our rights.

    We do not have the right to limit his rights.


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    tarzan1888 wrote:
    HankT wrote:
    One thing I know for sure. The MGGLGB principle won't work here. It's a special case. It requires complex analysis, not simplism.

    WRONG



    Rights belong to the individual. The group is governed by laws only.

    The right of the individual, to self defence, is paramount.

    You don't grand it, the Constitution doesn't grant it, It is inalienable.

    He has the right to self defence period.

    It is not complicated it is very simple.



    As a responsible man he has taken steps to defend him self as best he can.

    With him there is no 7 and 7 rule. If some one grabs him he knows exactly where they are and he can take steps to neutralize the threat.

    It doesn't matter if he has any sight at all, heis aware of his limitations. This awareness he will use to self govern the use of his rights.

    I rode the bus for many years with a man who went skiing several times a week, and yet he was totally blind.

    I road the bus with a man who used power tools to build furniture and was totally blind.

    We all have limitations, but rights are separate from our limitations.

    We each must use the understanding of our limitations as we exercise our rights.

    We do not have the right to limit his rights.

    Agreed.

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    CL SUBJ IN COMPLIANCE WITH LAW


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    tarzan1888 wrote:
    HankT wrote:
    One thing I know for sure. The MGGLGB principle won't work here. It's a special case. It requires complex analysis, not simplism.
    As a responsible man he has taken steps to defend him self as best he can.


    It doesn't matter if he has any sight at all, heis aware of his limitations. This awareness he will use to self govern the use of his rights.
    Of course it matters if he has any sight. If he has no sight at all he is demonstrably incompetent in utilizing a gun in the manner of its design.

    He's a good guy and all. Shows a lot of pluck. He's just incompetent, depending on how much vision he actually has.

    I can't summon up enough simplistic thought in me to support an incompetent user of a gun.

    On the other hand, he does have a right under the 2A to keep and bear arms.

    So I would be willing,in an effort tosolve the dilemma, to establish a government program toprovide McWilliams an attendent, a sighted one, to bear and shoot his arms. Seems reasonable. As I said above, what about all those other blind people that don't keep, bear or use arms? You would deny them their rights to personal self-defense? what is yourbasis for such a denial? We've got a few million disabled people, I'm guessing, who do not own or carry guns--simply because they can't actually use them competently themselves. They haven't lost their 2A rights. Why do they have to be defenseless?



    P.S. What the hey does skiing have to dowith it?




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    He has a right to bear arms. Do I want him drawing in my direction? No!:what:

    In the dark, in close quarters, and in the heat of the moment, how much of your defense depends onhow well you can aim? Trainingtakes over, instinct.Can henot defend himself? God has already thrown him a curve, why can't we let him pick up a bigger bat? I would like to see an assailant try to take him on in the dark, his domain. His hearing, touch and smell would be worth more to him than the attackers eyes alone.

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    HankT wrote:
    P.S. What the hey does skiing have to dowith it?


    We as a people are quick to place limits on others that we deem as physically inferior to our selves.



    If you had ever skied you would know that it is not an easy thing to do if you can see, but there are those who do it and cannot see.

    This only illustrates that we, who are sighted don't expect those who are not to be able to do difficult things, but they can.

    I grew up shooting and skiing and it was easier for me to learn to shoot well that it was to ski well.



    Rights trump abilities.

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    longwatch wrote:
    Well lets examine this. Why is it bad judgement for him to carry? Because he might miss a shot? Nobody can guarantee that they will always hit. Weapon retention problems? They apply to everyone who carries. Target misidentification? If the blind man is being attacked in close quarters I think he should be very aware of who is threatening him. It seems to me the only difference between this mans defensive situatuation and non handicapped gun carriers is the degree to which this mans blindness exacerbates the technical problems and liabilities of a gunfight. I think he recognizes these and has mapped out a rational plan of self defense.
    I like your take on the matter,Longwatch,it coincides with my own! Seems like there was a legally blind lady sometime back here in Kentucky with a CDWL. It seems that if this gentleman is partially sighted, he should be good to go. Itend to feel that this should hold good with a totally blind person also, since they are particularly vulnerablemembers of society. They are entitled to protect themselves, and as long as they recognise their limitations,more power to them!

    TrueBrit.

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    30 cal **** wrote:
    any zatoichi fans in here? :P
    I was thinking the exact same thing hah!
    -Unrequited

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    My wife is legally blind, suffering 90% vision loss. She has a Washington CC permit. She is a good shot at what she sees, but at night it would have to be almost contact range. However, badguys don't know this!

    People with a handicap of any sort are prime targets of predators who look for the sick and weak among us. I say givepeople any tools they want to even the odds.

    LoveMyCountry

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    LoveMyCountry wrote:
    My wife is legally blind, suffering 90% vision loss. She has a Washington CC permit. She is a good shot at what she sees, but at night it would have to be almost contact range. However, badguys don't know this!

    People with a handicap of any sort are prime targets of predators who look for the sick and weak among us. I say givepeople any tools they want to even the odds.

    LoveMyCountry
    Well Said.

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    Founder's Club Member Hawkflyer's Avatar
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    It would seem to me that the real issue here is not how good is he with the weapon, but how good is he at being blind. Blind people play baseball. Thats right baseball. They hit they field and they throw to each other. How? There is a beeper in the ball. With practice they learn where the ball is and how fast it is going and act accordingly.

    So in the instant case the question is, how good is this particular guy at being blind. In states that have a requirement that only the sighted can obtain a permit, he is out of luck. Absent such a restriction, if it is a shall issue state, and he successfully completes all the requirements he MUST be issued the permit.

    The fact is that if he is good at operating in the world with his condition, he may be a better marksman than a lot of sighted people. IF you remove shooting from the equation, he is no different then anyone else on all of the rest of the issues.

    While a lot of us here might see this as a case that can be used against us in the legislature, that is not really the case in gross terms. I am certain that some kind of vision test will surface as a requirement to obtain a permit as a result of this case. Some of us will rail at this as a violation of our right to bear arms, but in fact in open carry states it is only restriction on a particular type of carry. You can still bear arms, you just can't conceal them with out the permit. People seem to get very confused on this very simple concept all the time.

    I agree that this guy would not be my first choice as an example of appropriate granting of CHPs, but I would quickly add he has rights, and it would appear that those rights have been violated in this case. A small change in the law will change that for him, and impose additional restriction on everyone else. That is where my objection comes up. All too often the legislature passes laws with sweeping impacts to solve a perceived problem with a single person.

    Regards
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    Well, as I said earlier, it depends on how much vision the "blind" person has. Vision is related directly to performance, and indirectly tolack of vision. Depends how you do the model.

    I just don't like the notion of really blind people toting or using a gun. That's insanity.

    But I don't want to propose denying a person's 2A rights either. A dilemma.

    Seems like there must be a way to deal with both horns of the dilemma.

    I think that supplying armed attendants for really blind and other completely disabled folks would solve the dilemma.

    There have got to be a few million completely disabled Americans out there--people who, through no fault of their own, cannot aim or handle a gun. Are these people to be left undefended and unable to avail themselves of their 2A rights? Does a quadriplegic not still have a right to defend himself?

    We are all fortunate here. We have reasonably operational eyes, limbs and fingers. Not everyone is as fortunate as we.

    McWilliams is probably incompetent to handle a gun by most reasonable measures, but he sounds like he can probaby defend himself to some bare degree, I'm guessing. He sounds like he has enough snap to do something really stupid. Although, because he has been outed, he may actually be in more danger than ever before. Those are the breaks.

    But what about all those millions of other disabled folks? Do we just throw them under the bus? Do we deny themtheir 2A rights simply because we got ours?



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    Founder's Club Member Hawkflyer's Avatar
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    I keep seeing the word "imcompentant" thrown around in this discussion. The fact is that while blindness may constitute a disability in firing a weapon accurately, it does not make a person "incompetent". Incompetence contains a mental component which does not apparently apply in this case.

    The Virginia Tech shooter was incompetent, and I do not believe anyone could argue that in any way affected his USE of a firearm beyond using it inappropriately. He could clearly shoot, and did so with some accuracy and tragic effect.

    No in this case the individual has a disability, and it is not totally disabling. Even if he is totally blind (as implied by the story), he is still apparently in full possession of his mental faculties, and able to determine when it might be appropriate to defend himself.

    The government sponsored program of supplying a guard as it were, is an unreasonable answer. On what grounds does the taxpayer suddenly have a responsibility to supply a personal bodyguard to anyone? While I would agree that compassion has a role in the protection and defense of disabled individuals, our society is structured such that people supply these services through other than public means, unless the person is indigent.

    In this case there is no evidence that the person cannot afford to pay for a guard if he wants one, but he has decided he is able to take care of himself. Are you proposing the the government should supply a speaker for the mute, or stand-ins for the sterile (procreation is a fundamental right too)?

    No. the fact is that this man has rights, and has chosen to use them. It does not matter if you or I think it is wise, or even appropriate, we don't get to make that determination. Only through due process can his rights be modified or removed from him. That is precisely what is happening right now.

    Regards
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    "If you are not getting Flak, you are not over the target"
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    [quote]"Hawkflyer wrote:
    The government sponsored program of supplying a guard as it were, is an unreasonable answer. On what grounds does the taxpayer suddenly have a responsibility to supply a personal bodyguard to anyone? While I would agree that compassion has a role in the protection and defense of disabled individuals, our society is structured such that people supply these services through other than public means, unless the person is indigent.

    In this case there is no evidence that the person cannot afford to pay for a guard if he wants one, but he has decided he is able to take care of himself.
    It is not an unreasonable answer. Unless you're putting a price on the protection of the 2nd Amendment. Which you are obviously doing.

    I put no price on thewhether to afford Americans the benefit of the 2nd Amendment rights. I think it is probably unethical to do so.



    Hawkflyer wrote:
    No. the fact is that this man has rights, and has chosen to use them. It does not matter if you or I think it is wise, or even appropriate, we don't get to make that determination. Only through due process can his rights be modified or removed from him. That is precisely what is happening right now.

    Disregarding the McWilliams case, what about the millions of OTHER disabled people who do not have enough ability to do what he has done? Those MILLIONS of people are not getting the benefit of using their 2A rights. The government, and all of us, should support that fully.

    The fact is that MILLIONS of people are being denied their right to carry/self-defend simply because they are unfortunate enough to be disabled. And the government of the people shouldcorrect that situation. I would think that all pro gun/rights advocates would agree.

    I do.


  25. #25
    Founder's Club Member Hawkflyer's Avatar
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    HankT wrote:
    ...SNIP

    The fact is that MILLIONS of people are being denied their right to carry/self-defend simply because they are unfortunate enough to be disabled. And the government of the people should¬*correct that situation. ¬*I would think that all pro gun/rights advocates would agree.

    I do.
    I do not accept the words you have tried to jam down my throat, or the meaning you have attempted to extend to the ones I chose.

    I also do not accept your premise that anyone is being denied their rights because of disability. They are unable to exercise certain rights by virtue of a disability. That is a far cry from being denied anything by anyone.

    Please show me the part of the constitution that says that the government has the authority to fund or even see to it that citizens be provided the MEANS to exercise ANY of the rights that the constitution guarantees. In fact please show me the part that does not specifically limit the government from interference in any way in the private exercise of those rights.

    Even with the most twisted reading of the interstate commerce clause you still cannot get to anyplace that allows the government to proactively assist individuals in this regard.

    What you suggest would allow the government to to determine the methods by which people use their rights based on a GOVERNMENT assessment of their ability or disability. I do not want the government to even come close to assuming that role in my life or anyones else. The government is specifically prohibited from interference in the exercise of these rights by competent individuals, and that includes implementing programs as you suggest.

    Besides, you are overstating the issue here. This guy can still own, and carry a firearm. In 30 or more states he can conceal it. He has been denied a Utah permit to conceal, but with reciprocity he can still conceal in Utah. So please explain how he is unable to keep and bear arms. While it may offend your sensibilities that a person with his particular disability legally can do this, it does not offend mine. It is in fact a program such as you suggest that would deny this man his rights, by forcing him to accept YOUR gun bearer.

    Based on your theory the government should assume all responsibility for all citizens with disabilities. What if a person is adjudicated as insane, should the government supply that person a sane partner to carry his gun for him? That is the logical extension of what you propose.

    Regards
    "Research has shown that a 230 grain lead pellet placed just behind the ear at 850 FPS results in a permanent cure for violent criminal behavior."
    "If you are not getting Flak, you are not over the target"
    "186,000 Miles per second! ... Not just a good idea ... It's the law!"

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